The Port of Tauranga is Fully Operational October 12 2011

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The Port of Tauranga is Fully Operational

Posted on 12th October 2011

There is speculation around the potential closure of the Port of Tauranga as a consequence of hazards resulting from the grounding of the MV Rena on Astrolabe Reef.

There are three possible scenarios under which consideration would be given to restricting vessel entry and exit to and from the Port.

Drifting containers in trade lanesMaritime New Zealand's latest advice is that there are approximately 30 containers reported to have fallen from the vessel. These containers are currently drifting away from the Port entrance.

Oil Spill inundating shipping lanes. To date, the major extent of the spill does not affect the Port entrance.

Emergency tug assistance at the vessel. This could be required at short notice by Maritime New Zealand.

What are we doing to keep the Port open?

A recommended safe route in to the Port pilot boarding area from the North, is being developed. This will keep ships away from the current exclusion zone.

Sweeps of the port dredged channels out to the pilot boarding area using specialized sonar equipment is being regularly undertaken to ensure no container hazards in those areas.

Maritime New Zealand and the New Zealand Defence Force and the salvor are working together to monitor containers at sea, identify them and track them. Tracking of the oil discharge is being undertaken by Maritime New Zealand. While the extent of the spill is not currently affecting shipping channels, we will be monitoring this very closely.

We envisage that if we were requested to provide tug assistance, this would be for a short term duration only. Already there are tugs here from Auckland, Napier and Taranaki available to provide immediate assistance.
The Port is open and fully operational and we will continue to do all we can to ensure it remains this way.

It is our considered opinion that if any of the above scenarios were to occur, it is unlikely that the Port would be closed for an extended period.


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